Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Boreham Foreword

From time to time I get questions and requests for information relating to the life and writings of F W Boreham. One of the most recent was a request for a book containing the Forewords to F W Boreham’s books. What an interesting request! Who would be bothered reading those?

I picked up the nearest book to me, which happened to be My Pilgrimage, also published as A Pathway of Roses. Here is its foreword. I am sure you will agree that it possesses a wealth of insight and encouragement in just a few words:

Virgin Field
Let nobody imagine, for the thousandth part of a second, that my Autobiography is born of an inflated conception of my own importance. On the contrary, it is born of a delicious consciousness of my own insignificance. The lives of important people are seldom exciting: everybody knows the story before the biographer sets out to tell it. But the lives of the Nobodies and the Nonentities offer a virgin field of novelty and freshness.

The Drama of Reality
Let one of our most brilliant writers, having completed his latest manuscript, put on his hat and step out into the street in quest of the material for his next literary venture. With as much politeness as he can muster, let him intercept the first person whom he happens to meet; and let him break to that astonished individual the sensational intelligence that he is about to write the stranger's biography. It does not matter in the least who that stranger is. It may be a millionaire or it may be an organ-grinder; or, for that matter, it may be the millionaire's mastiff or the organ-grinder's monkey. Such a book, sensibly written, would prove of entrancing interest. The twists and turns of its colorful pageantry, the cunning intricacies of its droll comedy and poignant tragedy, would hold the reader spellbound from the first page to the last. There is no drama like the drama of reality; no lure like the lure of life; no business half as intriguing as other people's business. The man whose biography is not worth writing has never yet been born.

And, after all, every life, however commonplace, has its purple patches, its stupendous thrills, its surges of wild romance, its golden dreams, its excruciating heart­break, its crimson bloodstains and its stream of tears. The gorgeous epic of universal history is reflected, as in an exquisite cameo, in the secret soul of every crossing sweeper.

Grateful and Reverent Witness
I therefore venture. If I achieve nothing else, I shall at least have borne grateful and reverent witness to the goodness and mercy that have followed me all the days of my life, and to the sweetness and splendour of those companionships that have made a pilgrim track glow like a pathway of roses.
Easter, 1940.

Source: F W Boreham, My Pilgrimage London: The Epworth Press, 1940, 7-8.

Image: Pathway of Roses